Volume 29 Number 30
                 Produced: Sun Aug  1  7:19:28 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Forced Mishebayrach donations
         [Alexander Heppenheimer]
Har HaBayit entrance
         [Gitelle Rapoport]
Machmir for Chalav Yisrael
         [Zvi Weiss]
Right and Left Hand - 2 Questions
         [Carl and Adina Sherer]
Shir HaShirim and Megillas Esther
         [Ellen Krischer]
         [Warren Burstein]
Tisha B'Av nigunim on Shabbos
         [Zilberberg, David]
Worrying all week
         [Eli Hoffmann]


From: Alexander Heppenheimer <Alexander.Heppenheimer@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 21:12:09 -0600
Subject: Re: Forced Mishebayrach donations

Russell Hendel objected to a previous post of mine (28:93), that a
person can become obligated in tzedakah even against his will, based on
the rule that "a declaration to G-d is the equivalent of an act of
transfer to a human being":

>True..But in commerce law GIFTS are nullified if the INTENT of the Giver
>was clearly not to give (while in sales we need a formal anullment).
>(Eg Rambam Gifts 6:1 and many other places)
>So if the set up of the MiShebayrach shows that the person did not intend
>to give then he did not give!

But then, what are you going to do with the Rambam's other statement
(Gifts to the Poor 8:1), which I quoted in 28:93, that a verbal
declaration to give tzedakah is considered a vow and is binding? After
all, very few acts of tzedakah (or donations to the Beis HaMikdash,
which is what the Mishnah is talking about) can be classified as sales!

If you look at the Rambam that you quote, you'll see that he is talking
specifically about cases where it's contrary to common sense that the
giver meant what he did (such as where he gives away all of his estate
to a non-relative, not knowing that his own son is still alive). His
exact expression is (my own translation): "If the circumstances indicate
what he really meant, then we follow our evaluation, even though he did
not say so specifically." Absent such circumstances, the giver would not
have the right to revoke his gift by claiming that it was against his
wishes. Only if he verbally declares beforehand that he doesn't really
mean it would the gift be invalid (Rambam, Sales 10:3).

So it would seem, IMHO, that the only way a Mi SheBeirach pledge could
be invalid would be: (a) if the person verbally declared in front of
witnesses that he doesn't mean it; or (b) if it's clearly obvious that
no sane person would make such a pledge (e.g., the Rambam's case, where
he thinks his son is dead and therefore pledges all of his fortune to
the shul).

On top of all of this, it may be the case that a pledge to tzedakah
isn't considered a gift at all, but has the halachic status of a sale,
in which case these loopholes wouldn't even apply. [The Gemara (Bava
Basra 47b-48a) seems to say as much, since it argues that even if a
forced sale is invalid, a forced offering is valid, because we assume
that "he is ultimately pleased to achieve atonement"; and this is
talking specifically about cases where he pledged the offering and then
changed his mind, not cases where he was obligated to bring the offering
to begin with (Rambam, Procedures of the Offerings 14:17) - an exact
parallel to our case of the Mi SheBeirach.]

Kol tuv y'all,


From: Gitelle Rapoport <giteller@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 14:40:26 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Har HaBayit entrance

Regarding women entering the Har HaBayit area, Yisrael Medad wrote:
> one of the problems faced in resolving possible entrance into the areas
> of the Temple Mount (Har Habyait) which should be permitted is: what to
> do about women. There is a fairly simple solution for a woman old
> enough to have experienced niddah blood but is married.  She must
> refrain from conjugal rleations for a least three days and then go to
> the mikveh.
> > But the custom of unmarried women is that they do not go to the
> mikveh. Rav Goren zt"l deliberated this matter.  Even though the easy
> way out was to have the woman go to a mikveh too, as was practiced
> among Sefardi women before Yom Kippur - and Rav Goren zt"l considered
> an ascent into the Har Habayit as equal in importance to the observance
> of Yom Kippur- because of the principle of "b'not yisrael gazru
> alayhen" he hadn't yet resolved the matter fully before passing away
> almost 5 years ago.>> 

As I explain in detail in an article I wrote about women's immersion in
the mikvah on erev Yom Kippur (L'Eyla, September 1998; expanded version
scheduled to appear in a book next year), in the great majority of
cases, a woman's immersing for a Yom Kippur purpose does not make her
"tehorah" from menstruation (and thus does not make sexual relations
permissible). Re entrance into the Har HaBayit area, it seems to me that
a crucial question is the level of ritual purity and pre-immersion
preparation required. A relatively simple immersion, as is usually done
before Yom Kippur, would not necessarily be sufficient.

(Tangentially, going to the mikveh on erev Yom Kippur has been, and
still is, practiced by some Ashkenazi (especially chasidic) as well as
Sephardi women.)

But I don't understand why walking onto the Temple Mount is a problem
specifically for women. Isn't there a serious halachic question re
anyone going up to the Har Ha'Bayit area today? Which categories of
impurity, specifically, are the problem? And isn't there an uncertainty
about where precisely the different areas of the Beit HaMikdash (first
and/or second) are located today anyway?

Gitelle R.


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 22:25:16 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Machmir for Chalav Yisrael

> From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
> (Analogously, a person who keeps "Chalov Yisrael" should to say, "I do
> not rely upon the opinions permitting Chalov Stam."  Considering that
> those observant Jews who drink Chalov Stamm do so with the permission of
> great rabbeim, saying that ordinary USDA milk is tref is, with respect
> to the laws of lashon hara, problematic.)

 Actually, it is more complicated than that (I think).  There is NO
opinion that permits "Chalav Stam" -- to do so would be in violaiton of
the Gemara.  Rather, R. Moshe's Teshuva stated that our level of Yedia
("knowledge") is adequate such that we may give the "regular milk" a
status of "Chalav Yisrael".  However, there are two different reasons
why one may choose to be stringent:
 a. He or she simply wants to be machmir to drink "real Jewish milk" and
ensure that eveyone knows what Chalav Yisrael actually is.
 b. He or she may have a poseik who disagreed with R. Moshe on this
matter.  In such a case, that person has to treat Chalav Stam as "really
really" Traif!  Thus, *for that person* it is legitimate to say that the
milk is traif -- regardless of the fact that OTHER people have a more
lenient p'sak to follow.



From: Carl and Adina Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 07:39:05 +0300
Subject: Right and Left Hand - 2 Questions

Daniel Levine asks:

> Q. 1.
> Is one meant to cover the eyes with the right hand during the first
> paragraph of the Shema recited during Birkas Hashachar?

According to "Right or Left," a pamphlet by Rabbi Dovid Wolpin published
by the Chicago Community Kollel three years ago, "Actions based on a
Kabbalistic rationale such as to increase the attribute of Chesed which
is symbolized by the right side (e.g.  washing the right hand first, or
placing the right hand over the eyes for the first verse of Shema), a
left handed person does with the same side as a right handed one." (He
cites Shailos U'Teshuvos Beer Moshe 2:1 and Kuntres Ish Itair 19 for the
specific halacha relating to Shema). The Kuntres Ish Itair was written
by R. Chaim Kanievsky shlita in his commentary to Mesechta Tefillin
Halacha 13.

> Q. 2.
> For a left-handed person, do they substitute their left hand for all things
> that a right-handed person does with his right?
> e.g. for a left handed male, most know to have their Shel-Yad on the right
> arm, however:
> (a) which hand is used to shield the eyes during the Shema, left or right?

See above.

> (b) in which hand should the tzitzis be held?

"When preference is given to one side because of considerations related
to anatomy (e.g. reclining on the left side at the Pesach seder, so that
food won't enter the trachea), a left handed person should do the same
as a right handed one."

For this din he says, "Place tzitzis between the 4th and 5th fingers of
the left hand before beginning Shema since the left hand is close to the
heart. (During the third paragraph, the tzitzis are also held in the
right hand)." (Citing Kuntres Ish Itair 7). (See also Shulchan Aruch OH
24:2 and Mishna Brura 24:4 - CS).

> (c) with which hand should one beat the heart during Oshamnu, Bogadnu..

He classifies that as an action based on anatomy, and therefore says to
use the right hand to strike the left side of the chest which is near
the heart during the recitation of viduy (Citing Kuntres Ish Itair 51).

> (d) do they wash for 'Al Netilas Yodoyim' Left, Right, Left etc..

He classifies this as an action based on Kabbalah (both "negel vasser"
when you wake up in the morning, and when you wash for a meal), and
therefore says that you begin by washing the right hand. (Citing Mishna
Brura 4:22 for negel vasser and Pri Megadim, Eshel Avraham 158:1 for
washing for meals).

Your friend may wish to contact the Chicago Community Kollel to see if
they still have copies of the pamphlet, since it has many other
questions that he did not ask you to ask.

-- Carl Sherer (right-handed father of three left handed children bli 
ayin hara)

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.


From: Ellen Krischer <krischer@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 09:52:59 -0400
Subject: RE: Shir HaShirim and Megillas Esther

 Alexander Heppenheimer  writes:
>...sometimes the peshat lies on the surface, other times it is buried
>deeper (i.e., the events described are allegorical) - and in all cases,
>we must consult the commentaries to see which is the case.

Is this the general view of folks on the list?  I was always led to
believe that peshat always means "what the words say".  We are not
necessarily supposed to *use* the words literally - as halacha or as
history, and it may be that a text was intended as an allegory.
However, that shouldn't preclude there being value to understanding a
very literal view of what the text says.

Ellen Krischer


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 16:43:39
Subject: Re: Slavery

>From: Michael & Bonnie Rogovin <rogovin@...>
>Slavery, in common usage, was for an indefinite amount of
>time, the owner could do anything he or she wished to the slave, and the
>slave was mere property and had no rights as a person.  This is
>certainly not the Torah's view.

An Eved Cnaani is for an indefinite amount of time, the owner can beat
the slave (just not so much that the slave dies), the slave is property,
and the slave has no recourse if the owner fails to provide for him.  Is
the sole reason to be glad this sort of slavery no longer exists "pop

From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
>Since in Y'mos
>HaMashiach, the Non-Jews will *all* (I think) acknowledge Hashem, it
>seems to me that there would no longer be a mitzva of purchasing Avadim
>K'na'anim -- although I imagine that there may be people who WANT to
>sell themselves for that purpose.  That is, there may be non-Jews who
>would wish to join the Jewish household and -- knowing that in Messianic
>times we do not accept converts -- would choose this "path".
>Since all of this is being done voluntarily, I am not sure what moral
>objection would exist (if any).

It would not be voluntary for the descendents of the voluntary slaves,
and it is not clear that the master would be allowed to free them.


From: Zilberberg, David <ZilbeDa@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 09:37:38 -0400
Subject: Re: Tisha B'Av nigunim on Shabbos

Joel Rich <Joelirich@...> wrote:
>I have heard ( a report from NCSY Kollel) that the Rav sang Eli Tzion
>with a bit of shalosh regalim melody - so maybe this is not a conclusive
>proof - anyone know any more on this?

www.613.org has a audio file of Rav Soloveichik singing Eli Tzion.


From: Eli Hoffmann <hoffmann@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 17:00:47 -0400
Subject: Worrying all week

As an additional question related to my previous post on "Treading
water" - it is well known that the Gemara (where? Is this a Gemara?)
says that one who mistakenly begins Ata Chonein on Shabbos should "worry
all week".

If one began "Ata Chonein" he must conclude the berachah - since
originally one should daven on Shabbos, except that Chazal shortened
things up due to Tirchah de-Tzibburah (public delay), so, in case of
mistake, the berachah must still be finished. (Shulchan A. 268:2)

NOW - what will be the din if one mistakenly began Ata Chonein, and
immediately --- almost by reflex --- said "Ata Kidashta...." What should
he do - does he still go back and say "Ata Chonein", or does he continue
with "Ata Kidashta". This has happened to me. It's quite natural to
correct yourself automatically --- almost without thinking.

I'd love if anyone knew an answer to this...

Eliyahu Hoffmann


From: Benjamins <benjams@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 23:08:27 +0300
Subject: Z"L

As we grow older we unfortunately have more and more opportunities to use
the expressions zichrono livracha and aleha hashalom.  I usually hear these
expressions in those respective genders (z"l for deceased men and ah"s for
deceased women), but not always.  Could someone share the source of this
gender-based distinction, if it in fact exists?  
May we all be blessed with "ad 120."

B. Benjamin


End of Volume 29 Issue 30